Search ends as diver lost at sea

| 22/01/2014

Cayman Islands (CNS) Updated Wednesday: After three days of looking for 57-year-old David Byles, who went missing following a dive on Sunday morning, the local authorities have called off the search. Inspector Ian Yearwood, who made it clear yesterday that no one expected him to be found alive at this stage, said Wednesday that everything possible had been done to try and recover the body. The police have been in contact with Byles' wife and the decision to end the search was discussed with her. Thanking all the volunteers who helped, the senior officer said their assistance had been invaluable. With the recovery of Byles' tank, his BCD and clothing, Yearwood explained the decision to stand down the search.

"It’s always a difficult decision to call off any search, but having reviewed the search patterns followed to date, tides etc, it’s clear that we have done as much as we can do at the moment in our attempts to recover David’s body and bring some closure to his family. Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this time,"  he stated..

Some 28 people were involved in the search, including local divers and police personnel, who were searching yesterday and this morning in the Barracuda Wall area. Police and divers had recovered Byles dive tank, BCD and an item of clothing on Monday but there has been no trace of Byles.

The US national was visiting the Cayman Islands with his wife on vacation from North Carolina. The couple, along with several others, were on a dive off Seven Mile Beach on Sunday but after surfacing safely 100 yards from the dive boat, Byles disappeared. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Specifics please, or there are no 'facts' to debate.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is another terrible but too common story.  On one of the threads about this accident a Cayman instructor from the US said that standards of safety have become worse over recent years in Cayman.  The high death rate seems to bear this, but no-one in the industry or government is willing to do anything about it and rather just spout denials in the face of the facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      To what "facts" are you referring? I have personally sat in on meetings within the dive industry regarding the steps that are being taken to do something about this. During those meets the steps that the government are taking are usually discussed quite extensively in order to dovetail the steps taken by the dive industry. 

      And yes, statistically, I would deny that there is a huge worsening problem. A couple million dives conducted per year. A few deaths. In terms of percentage that's like .0001 (maybe one more 0)

      So, how many deaths occurred while golfing on island last year? How many golfers came? What's the percentage there? What is government and the golfing industry doing to address this horrible problem? Thepercentage of deaths while golfing is much higher. 

      You called this story common. Define common? Once a week? Once a month? A few times a year? A few deaths per couple million divers? Stabbings on this island are common. 4 in one week recently. Car crashes are extremely common. Theft is common. Murder is common on a per capital basis. Perhaps those are issues you should be more concerned with, rather than the fact that a few divers out of every 2 million may die, often times of something unrelated to diving or not brought on by the dive. 

      Please do not misunderstand, I do not want to diminish his death in any way. I do take safety issues seriously and that is why I have participated in all the safety meetings within the industry. I just think that off the cuff statements about facts, without actually presenting any, do more harm than good. 

      The only way to reduce the risk of death while diving to zero is to not dive but the same goes for all of life. What is the point in that. 


      • Anonymous says:

        So you would happily stop using liability waiver clauses in your business then? 

      • Anonymous says:

        Statiscally 2 million dives would generate 16 deaths applying a the scuba micro-mort value of 8.  But you are pulling stats out the proverbial.

    • Anonymous says:

      Death from diving has not got worst over years. It is MORE people diving therefore more risk to die. But 95% of people who lost their lives is medical problems. I have been in argument with few people that my job is dive instructor which ensure safety to dive. I have no power to stop people diving when they DO NOT give me full details of their health problems as I am not trained as a doctor. I did havea client who die from diving as he lied when filling the wavier form. He knew he had a heart problem yet he went diving and he die. If you look death per 100,000 in sports, you will be very surpise that diving is the bottom of the list. More people died from playing football, golf, even swimming than diving. Thousands people died from swimming due drowning, last week 3 people died from swimming in Australia as caught in rip current.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolute crap.  I would be surprised to find diving at the bottom, because diving is second to hang gliding in its micromort index and it is hundreds of times more dangerous than soccer, golf and swimming.  Golf may have a high death rate, but everyone knows that it because it has much more older participants, so that statistic is skewed, but even with that factor ignored it is still far safer than diving.




        • Anonymous says:

          Everyone knows that deaths while golfing are due to the older age of the participants huh?

          Have you taken the time to look at the age of those involved in accidents while diving?

          You are about as likely to have an accident diving as you are bowling. 

          If someone overexerts themselves and dies of a heart attack, does that count as a diving accident? What if they overexert themselves in direct contravention of their training? (by that I mean they are doing something that they have been taught not to do). 

          So. if I don't look both ways and run out into the road and get hit by a car, what caused that accident? The driver of the car or the actions of the pedestrian? 

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, the ages of the divers who die are much lower.  That is because it is statistically much more dangerous.

  3. SSM345 says:

    Story made it to the Daily Mail.

    • Anonymous says:

      And Fox News 16:57

    • Anonymous says:

      An investigative piece into the how many deaths happen in the Caymans every year would be interesting and might save lives.

  4. Anonymou says:

    My sincere condolences go out to the friends and especially the family of David Byles.  It is a  tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Jack Augsbury

  5. Anonymous says:

    God will walk with his family and comfort them.  In Cayman we have a wonderful Emergency Crew.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am really sorry to hear this. My prayer goes out to his wife

  7. Anonymous says:

    So sad, yet another to the long list.